Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Valerie Gonzalez, representative from Evapco, talks with Madera South High students, Juan Ramirez, left, and Bryce Edwards during Manufacturing Day at the Madera Community College Center.
Students get a look into career options
The Madera County Compact, a coalition of businesses and educators, held its third annual Manufacturing Day, offering students a glimpse at local job opportunities.
The event, which was held on Friday at the Madera Community College Center, was part of National Manufacturing Day. The Compact was also the first group to hold one in the Central Valley.
“The Madera County Compact has been wanting to figure out how can we make students in Madera County aware of career options before they’re out of high school? And so that’s where this manufacturing day came from,” said Kathy Woods, the director of curriculum and instruction for the Madera County Office of Education.
“And so the first Friday of October is National Manufacturing Day across the nation. And its whole purpose is to let students know we’ve got a dozen careers available through manufacturing and advanced manufacturing.”
During Manufacturing Day, students were bused in to the Madera Community Center, where they were given the opportunity to visit two of six possible manufacturers, and tour their facilities. A trade show was also presented to the students. Groups who took part in the show, but did not conduct tours, included the Ardagh Group, the Madera Community College Center, and the Workforce Development Board of Madera
“A lot of kids don’t get to see that. I mean, I wish I saw that when I was fresh out of high school,” said Manuel Nunez, the technical progress coordinator for Evapco West, a company that specializes in evaporative cooling and refrigeration. “This gives them an insight of what actual work looks like, and everything built by hand, from scratch, from a flat piece of metal, to the end, where it’s fully built and assembled.”
Nunez, who has been with Evapco for 16 years, stated that this was his second year of helping with National Manufacturing Day.
“When I did the tour, I started with actual plain, flat sheet metal, and then we worked our way through the process, and how the sheet metal is cut, broken, welded, assembled, and pretty much put together.”
According to Woods, this year has also seen an increase in the number of young women taking part in the tours. They’ve also seen an increase in apprenticeships.
“Apprenticeships are coming back in a big way,” Woods said. “And it’s exciting because this a generation that, if they can’t see it, they can’t do it.”
“It was nice knowing what they do,” said Bryce Edwards, a Madera South High School senior who took part in Manufacturing Day, and has been welding since his freshman year. “It gives a better idea how Madera runs.”
Edwards, along with his friend and fellow welder Juan Ramirez, toured Pacific Ethanol, and the Vulcan Materials Company.
In addition to Evapco, Pacific Ethanol, and Vulcan, tours were also conducted by JBT FoodTech, Steel Structures Inc., and Nemat Inc.